The shooting season may be over, but that doesn’t mean that the hard work ends. We speak to Graham, our shooting expert and Headkeeper at Holylee estate to find out what the end of season means for him.
The month following the end of the shooting season generally means a lot of tidying up. All the pegs have to be brought back in and any empty cartridges get cleared up. We do ask the guns to lift their empties and put them in the buckets provided (which they do) but there’s always the odd one that has been missed and we like to get them all tidied up to leave the place litter free.
Traps and tidying after the shooting season
There’s the odd bit of windblown timber that we have been chopping up to get it off the fences which keeps the place tidy and allows new growth, so this involves plenty of work with the chainsaw.
It’s back to the traps for stoats and weasels so we get all of them set up and ready to go again. We’ve also had a big problem with rats this year. With it being so mild they have been further up the hill than normal and have been a lot more active than usual so we have been getting on top of them. They are a nuisance for everything and we need to get them under control before we can really start trapping the stoats and weasels.
We let the feeders run down but continue to feed the birds with a spinner on the back of the quad bike which we use every second day and just spin wheat onto the feed rides in the woods. This helps the birds to drift out and away from the main feeders and also helps to stop the pest build up around the feeders.
We’ll keep doing that for the next month or six weeks to the end of April or until I see the birds starting to peck away in the fields when you know that the hunger gap at the end of winter has been bridged and nature takes over again with spring arriving and new growth starting.